Monday, 22 April 2019
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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

How to Buy the Right Ceiling Fan

Written by Jaymi Naciri Posted On Wednesday, 23 January 2019 05:00

Let’s put a fan in the living room. Sounds easy enough, right? Now all you have to do is figure out the size and the style and the color and the function and whether or not you need a downrod, and how long that should be. Phew. That’s A LOT.

Having just been through this process, we have tips to share that will help you understand what to look for. Our pain is your gain!

Size matters

A 36-inch fan isn’t likely going to do a great job of cooling your giant great room, and a 72-inch fan might look out of place in a tiny bedroom (not to mention the fact that it might feel like a wind tunnel in there). Getting the look—and function—right has a lot to do with buying the right size fan for your space.

Consider the lighting

Does your space have decent lighting elsewhere or are you depending on the ceiling fan to provide good lighting for the room? Before you spend many aggravating hours searching online for the “brightest LED ceiling fan,” followed by an equally aggravating trip to a big box store that shall go unnamed, let us give you a little insight: Most fans without multiple exposed lights now have integrated LEDs, which means the light is built in to the fan and is not changeable.

While this may be cost-effective and convenient—especially if you’d have to climb a ladder to change the light bulb—it’s not great if you’re looking for a brighter light than what is included in the box. If you want one of those snazzy modern-looking fans  and you need a super bright light, you’ll probably need to MacGyver it or buy a fan without a light and then get a separate light kit without an integrated bulb. Good times ahead!

Match your style

Ceiling fans with integrated lights come in a variety of styles to match a variety of tastes. If you know you want modern, traditional, or transitional, by all means, Google it. If, in our case, you can’t find the function you want in your preferred style, you have to get a little more creative. Wayfair is a good place to look for brands and styles you may not find at Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Do the blades go in reverse?

One of the coolest (pardon the pun) features of many of today’s fans is the fact that you can run them in reverse, which forces rising hot air down and helps keep the room comfortable in winter. If this feature is important to you, make sure the fan you’re looking at has it, because not all do.

Do you need a downrod?

Downrods are necessary if you have tall ceilings. Ceilingfan.com has a great graphic that shows you how long or short your downrod should be depending on your room, but don’t forget to take your personal preferences into account. If you’re in a room that tends to run hot or faces west, maybe you want the fan installed a little lower so you can feel the air flow.

Read the reviews

While this was not so helpful in determining whether or not a light was bright enough (People have opinions, and, wow can they contradict each other!), it was helpful in weeding out some options that were wobbly when installed, didn’t come with a decent remote or any remote at all, or didn’t look like their picture in real life. You’re never going to find any product with a 100 percent approval rating nor will you agree with everything you read, but a “majority rules” type of deal is usually a pretty safe bet.

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